A small group of Congressmen are making pledges to forego some of their own pay and benefits to apply to the reduction of the national debt. With the national debt standing at around $14.7 trillion, the gesture is purely symbolic, but the Congressmen want to be seen as leading by example.
Chris Gibson (R-NY), Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Tim Walz (D-MN), Scott Rigell (R-VA), and Steve Stivers (R-OH) have been giving portions of their salaries back to the government. Bachus gave more than $400 in both the first and second quarter of 2011, while Walz gave more than $2,000 in each quarter, according to House statements of disbursements, the most recent of which was released last week. Stivers is returning 5% of his salary which came to about $2,175 in the second quarter, and Rigell has pledged 15% of his salary which totaled around $6,500 in the second quarter.
“Rep. Rigell believes that the trajectory of spending in Washington presents a material threat to our nation’s future,” spokeswoman Kim Mosser said in an email. “He also believes in leading by example in controlling spending.”
Gibson has taken it a step further, dipping into his military pension and returning nearly $20,000 in the first quarter. Gibson is a retired Army colonel and has pledged to return the full $68,000 annual pension while he holds his elected office.
A spokesman for the House Chief Administrative Officer, which maintains the account to which the Members donate the money, confirmed that the funds have been sent to the Treasury.